The impact of team-based learning (TBL) on physician assistant students’ academic performance in gross anatomy

Academic Article


  • Purpose Changes in medical education have prevented students from conducting full cadaveric dissections in gross anatomy. The efficacy of alternative educational methods is being explored to augment traditional dissection. Methods Team-based learning was integrated into the 2014 gross anatomy laboratory for physician assistants (PA) and nurse anesthetists. Deidentified data from the 2013 and 2014 courses were used to assess with t-tests the effect of this addition on student academic performance. Results Students in the 2014 course who experienced team-based learning performed significantly better on 75% of written and laboratory practical examinations (P <.05). Those mean examination increases correlated with a positive shift in final grades. A greater benefit was noted for PA students than for nurse anesthetist students. Conclusions Team-based learning is an effective supplement to cadaveric dissection. Student short-term knowledge outcomes improve with the combination of dissection and team-based learning in the gross anatomy laboratory.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Isbell JA; Makeeva V; Caruthers K; Brooks WS
  • Start Page

  • 126
  • End Page

  • 130
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 3